I've made mountains of notes, read the other three books in the series, made the most meticulous (and long) outline I've ever made...but somehow I never feel ready to start a new book. Even on this, my sixth novel, I feel nervous. I have butterflies in my stomach, my hands are shaky, and I feel like a country girl walking into a big sophisticated party. Everyone is wearing nicer clothes than me, speaking more succinctly, and carrying fancier swords than me. (I don't know why everyone's carrying a sword, but it seems important somehow)
But somehow, I throw myself in. I push myself off that ledge and submerge myself into that murky water. And somehow, somehow, things become clearer. With every word I write I go deeper into the depths and the murk is replaced with scenes as clear as day. The party is still going on, but with every page, every chapter, I become the center of the party. My dress becomes more beautiful, I speak like I've just come from Oxford, and my sword is so sharp and shiny.
And it's always like this. Every book. The doubts dissipate, the butterflies turn from nauseating to excited, and my hands are steady as I type page after page. All I have to do is show up, and the writing happens. Every time. The problem is, sometimes I'm afraid to show up. I'm afraid that someday it isn't going to be easy, or fun, or rewarding. Someday, I'm afraid, I'll show up, and the magic will be gone.
But not today. Today the writing is magic. Today the writing is easy. Today the writing is fun. And I'll keep showing up.
J.L. Murray is the bestselling author of the Niki Slobodian series, After the Fire, and Jenny Undead.